Alex DeBrincat Leads Blackhawks To Victory

The Blackhawks hosted a road watch party for season ticket holders at the United Center on Saturday as they faced Scott Darling and the Carolina Hurricanes.

On the ice, Tanner Kero returned after a length absence, affording coach Joel Quenneville the opportunity to move Nick Schmaltz back to the wing. Quenneville went with the same blue line, however, leaving Michal Kempny in the press box with Jordan Oesterle.

Unfortunately for the collection of season ticket holders at the UC and those watching in Carolina and at home, the Hawks didn’t get off to a great start. The Canes out-shot the Hawks 16-15 in the first period even with the Hawks having two power plays. Brock McGinn and Jeff Skinner scored 2:08 apart to give the home Canes a 2-0 lead after one.

Just as former Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger was leaving the penalty box in the second period, Alex DeBrincat put home his fourth of the season.

It was a fun change of pace for the rookie sniper, who had scored two of his previous three (and his two most recent) goals into an empty net.

Richard Panik was credited with an assist on Chicago’s first goal of the game, giving him 100 career regular season NHL points.

Sadly, the depression of Hawks fans was reignited a couple minutes later when McGinn scored his second of the game to extend the Canes lead to 3-1.

Through 40 minutes, the Canes had a 26-24 shot advantage, a two-goal lead and the Blackhawks were an 0-for on the power play again.

Thankfully, DeBrincat decided the game wasn’t going to end that easily.

DeBrincat sniped in his second goal of the night at 3:16 into the third to draw the Hawks back to within one.

Eight minutes later, it was Gustav Forsling’s turn to shine.

Panik and Brent Seabrook picked up the assists on Forsling’s first of the season and Chicago had stormed back to tie the game. Anton Forsberg was good enough in net and made a few good saves in the third period to keep the Hawks alive while the offense orchestrated a comeback.

Sixty minutes weren’t enough, however, and free hockey decided the game.

DeBrincat was feeling it all night and when he came on the ice during the overtime his confidence was evident. He attacked the offensive zone and left a nice drop pass for Brandon Saad who finished the comeback win with a rocket that somehow got through Darling for the winner.

Appropriately, Forsling and DeBrincat had the assists on Saad’s seventh goal of the season.

DeBrincat had three points and three takeaways in 14:25 impressive minutes.

Forsling had two points, four shots on net and four blocked shots in 21:26 as he gets back into the flow after missing time.

Panik had two assists and two hits in 14:30 after he hadn’t registered a point in seven games.

Even with Schmaltz at the wing and Kero back in the lineup, the Hawks got their ass kicked at the dot again. Jonathan Toews won half of his 18 faceoffs (while also picking up an assist, two hits and two takeaways) but the rest of the Hawks won only nine of 34 combined faceoffs. Kero won two of nine Artem Anisimov won six of 16, making it clear that the Blackhawks still have a glaring need at center.

Forsberg stopped 35 of 38 to earn the victory.

The Hawks are back on the ice back home at the United Center on Sunday against the New Jersey Devils.

35 thoughts on “Alex DeBrincat Leads Blackhawks To Victory

  1. Good thing they held on one more game before sending the kid to Rford.
    The power play is painful to watch. (almost as bad as Notre Dame tonight)
    Wingels is one of the best players on the team-huh?

    A win is a win is a win.

  2. Forsling’s best game as a Hawk. Also liked Schmaltz back on the wing, he was much more dangerous. Perhaps we should consider declining penalties.

  3. Any win would have been a good win, but the way they came back can be a confidence builder. Dcat had a great game and I think that was the first time in his career that Forsberg won a game that he started.

  4. DeBrincat needs more minutes. And Schmaltz on a wing gives more options. This was a nice comeback win. We’ll see what they look like 22 hours later against a much better team from Jersey

  5. Good thing didn’t send Debrinkat to Rockford, to early, that would be genius.

    Everytime we have 4/5or6 days between games it prob. take mid way through the 2nd game after break to get going again/up to speed.

    Now we have a chance to play.

    Remember the 4 games before the first game after long break, we outplayed the other team and deserved better then 2-2 in those ones.

  6. Notre Dame and Georgia are not top 5 teams. They havnt played anybody good. USC is not that good. Those teams are overrated.

    Penn State
    Oklahoma
    Clemson
    Alabama
    Ohio State

    Those are the top 5 teams, roster wise.

  7. Last year Schmaltz looked more comfortable on the right than left early in the year. Debrincat has said he’s more comfortable on the left. Q has shown a reluctance to put 88 and 12 together. Having 15 in between would help with that dynamic.

    20-19-8
    12-15-88
    14-10-40
    17-57-38

  8. After whining and complaining so much lately, I’m happy to give credit where credit is due and the Hawks deserve some credit tonight. After what was another moribund start to the game, the 2nd and especially the 3rd periods were played pretty well. And Forsberg deserves credit too for hanging in there after giving up a couple soft goals.

    It wasn’t a Rembrandt, but it was 2 points.

  9. Just because the Hawks won (and that s a good thing) doesn t mean Kempny in the press box two games and counting is productive. This is a player Bowman keenly plucked out of Europe and re-signed; yet, for the second year in a row, he is in and out of the lineup. What was the point of re-signing him?

    Forsling had a decent game, lets see him stack games like this one on top of the other. He has the benefit of unwavered support from Q; Murphy & Kempny do not. Their play is reflective thereof. When they do actually play.

  10. I could swear I just read, “Toews is now a good 3rd line center.” I do not feel that way, but if you do, you have put him there when you make up your lines.

  11. Good to see Forsberg hang in there and get his first win after struggling early and Debrincat and Forsling showing why they are in the lineup. Saad finally got a goal hopefully gets him going again. Now keep it going tonight, if they dig a hole early again could be another long night though.

  12. Watched a couple of parts of T.O games and JVR gets a lot of close in goals–tips, 3
    three foot goals. He has great hands and is willing to have players all over him-wish the Hawks had a similar player. He isn’t fleet of foot but hangs around and the talent gets him the puck close in, or he stands in the line of fire from the point.
    But a center is more on the ‘need’ list.
    1. center
    2. top 4 puck mover (Kempny?)
    3. ‘dirty area’ scorer–I don’t know if it’s Saad

  13. Kempny has yet to show consistency needed for a top 4 spot. There is merit to the fact he hasn’t gotten the opportunity of others but he is not a 19 or 20 year old kid coming out of junior who is still developing either. He is an 8 year pro who should be at the peak of his game and is not making great strides in showing improvement. I agree with a previous article poster who said he needs a chance somewhere else to see if he can be more than a 6th or 7th dman in this league.

  14. You are correct Noonan. I watch a lot of the Leafs games as my son is a fan of them ( couldn’t change his mind the the Blackhawks) and JVR is known as a pigeon. He doesn’t do any of the work to set up plays and isn’t fleet of foot but he is excellent at picking up garbage and that is his house and he is dam good at it.

    Great comeback win and that play by Dcat was golden. He drew all 3 Huuticane players which allowed Saad to walk right in and bam game over

  15. Who would you rather have 91 or JVR when their UFA. There isint going to be a 81 UFA for a lonnnnnnng time. Who is, though, a high end FW that will be a UFA in the couple coming yrs we could add. FW and D.

    Proud of the Force and Debrinkat. Starting to come together. These guys upside. Can see the team getting better for the coming yrs.

    Remebner no team in league, other then TAM (LA sd STL playing as hard as they can because of last season they didn’t do good in regular 82), has that good of a record. Most teams are all around each other standing wise. We havnt played our best yet. We need to add what we need when its available to compliment our guys we have.

  16. Jax, fair point. However, just because Toews is on the top line in my proposed line up doesn’t meant he’s a #1 center in the sense that his play warrants that title – it only means the team doesn’t have anyone better so Toews is the center on the top line by default.

    Continuing the theme of giving credit where credit is due – Toews had a pretty good game last night. The pass to DeBrincat on the first goal was very good and typical of the type of play we used to see a lot from Toews. If he can continue to make those plays I will be happy to give him a promotion to “good 2nd line center”. :)

  17. Nice to see the Hawks battle back and win against a younger less skilled team. Personally I think the Devils are legit, so I I’ll be curious to see how the Hawks fair tonight

    No Tanner Kero love from the poster huh? Keep in the lineup @ 3C the kid wins face offs and plays a 200ft game. Flank him with Panik & Hayden. Sharp can play on the 4th line or in the press box.

  18. Despite my recent negativity, I am by nature an optimist. I’m also a fanatical Hawks fan. Put those two things together and it doesn’t take much to raise my hopes from the depths to the mountain top. A simple win like last night has me thinking positive thoughts and looking for little positive things to blow out of proportion. So I will.

    DeBrincat. He’s only 19 and has only 17 games under his belt. Only an elite player would have played appreciably better than DeBrincat has played so far – and many elite players haven’t done as well at the same age and under the same circumstances. I would go so far as to say he has played better than his stats indicate. His 5 goals and 5 assists and could easily have double the assists if his line mates played better. That’s an obvious statement that can be applied to any player, but DeBrincat has made a lot of good plays where an NHL caliber player would have potted the set up from DeBrincat – Anisimov early on when it appeared he was out of sync had 2 or 3 prime scoring chances he fumbled away. Lots of little things where DeBrincat made a very good play but didn’t result in anything because the other guy didn’t make the play. An example from last night was night was when DeBrincat brought the puck out of the d-zone on the right side and saw Bouma streaking down the left side. DeBrincat made a perfect pass to hit Bouma in stride and send him into the 0-zone with a quality chance … except Bouma didn’t read the play the same way and broke stride as if he thought it was a better play to give DeBrincat a more stationary target for the pass. DeBrincat had released the pass and by the time Bouma figured it out he couldn’t reach the pass and the play resulted in nothing. DeBrincat made a good play, Bouma didn’t and the play is forgotten.

    Hopefully DeBrincat’s confidence and comfort feel continue to rise and he’ll have more games like last night.

  19. When we play 8 of first 11 against top 10 teams, then recently 2 of 4 (NAS/PHI/MIN/MTL) we played a harder sch then other teams. Now its our turn to play team that arnt top 10, like CAR (even though there a playoff team now) and others. It doesn’t mean were better/or worse when we play non top10 teams.

    This is back to back 3in4 and those arnt easy. NJD played good in first 20, they wont as good in 21-40 games when teams are playing them harder. Whats good for us is were back up to speed again, after our 3rd long break, and now we can play. I expecpt us to play good, even though back to back, like those 4 games before the long break. Hockey Gods can reward us now with wins/good bounces.

  20. Time to sit Sharp and keep Hayden in the line up. If we bring Hinostra up it must not be at Hayden’s expense need his size and grit.

  21. Where are they going to be at when they/TOR cant keep everyone salary cap wise. You think we could trade for him, what would be a fair trade asset wise.

  22. Mo the leafs look like they have alot of cap space. But with Nylander up this season and Matthews and Marner next thats could be alot if bucks. Matthews for sure be a big one and talking about wanting to upgrade on the defense too. Bozak strong faceoff guy and good skater but not a big scorer. 4g 4a and -4 this season and leafs have scored alot. Ufa next year so be worth a look.

  23. If its to find a faceoff guy why not give Highmore who has played well in Rockford a shot to see if he is ready. Has offense and good forechecker, stood on faceoffs in junior.

  24. If we were to trade for either Bozak or JVR, other than Hossa’s contract, which they might not be able to take with their own 5+ on ltir, what could we trade that Tor would want?

  25. Chris I think your right-my original post wasn’t a trade situation, only a wish based on what they seem to be lacking.

  26. Let’s not get carried away. A game ago the article was, “the blackhawks suck, now what?” So now were talking about being a buyer?

    I’ve had a firm stance on tdl moves in that for the most, part the reward isn’t worth the cost. That doesn’t go for just the Hawks either.

    Bozak isn’t just a faceoff guy. While he’s off to a slow start, over his career hes averaged 51 pts per 82. With 55 in 78 last year.

    Regarding Kempny, he was an RFA last summer. It was Hawks or Europe with the Hawks retaining his rights ala Sobotka and Blues. Last year he was a high risk high reward that played a heavy game. This year hes not taking quite as many risks. Which is good. But the reward has expectedly gone down as well. The edge he had last year isn’t as present either. Is he an NHL caliber D? Probably. But it’s a bottom pair. And the Hawks have arguably 4 bottom pair guys for 2 spots.

    2 of the hardest positions to fill are D and centers. The Hawks have enough D. The centers are the issue. Do you trade 6 and a prospect for a C? My vote is no. Although if you’re wanting to dump Anisimov this summer on the premise you think you can also move 81’s contract in order to sign the other Johnny T… perhaps you can move 15 and 6 to Toronto for Bozak.

    Bozak might be a nice consolation prize for someone this summer…but he’s on the wrong side of 30.

  27. Its going to be tuff when we outplay NJD by a lot/we kicked their ass and they score 6 goals, when we were up 4-2. That’s garbage. They score 6 goals in first two periods then we should have had 12 goals.

    We out played the other team in 6 of last 7 games and we deserve a better record then we got. Fucking garbage.

  28. let’s be perfectly clear: the Blackhawks believe their window is 2-3 more years w/ 19 & 88 in their prime. So they’re still in “buy” mode. As long as you believe you’re inside of that Championship Window you’re theoretically buying. Now, what’s moved to accomplish the upgrade required to go for it might be harder with an older core, but the Blackhawks simply cannot “sell” with the guys they have on NMCs/NTCs right now.

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